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Donald Trump gives Central Intelligence Agency authority to carry out drone strikes

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Trump gives CIA power to launch drone strikes: report

The White House did not immediately respond to questions from the Daily News.

And while surpassing former U.S. President Barack Obama's record on drone strikes would be a feat - he was the president that administered the most in history, after all - Trump's administration is on course to do just that with the new set of new policies.

The review of the policy on drone strikes will also allow the Pentagon to order strikes without checking with the White House, as had been mandated by President Obama, who had tried to bring transparency and accountability to the process, as he leaned on it heavily as a substitute for military deployment. This may already be happening. The U.S. drone strike that killed Taliban leader Mullah Mansour in May 2016 in Pakistan was the best example of that hybrid approach, U.S. officials said.

The CIA works under secret authorities and doesn't have to announce the strikes, the targets and unintended casualties, which the Pentagon did.

President George W Bush authorised America's first drone strike in 2004 but the programme was rapidly scaled up by Mr Obama, provoking worldwide condemnation and protests in countries such as Pakistan where Central Intelligence Agency attacks were blamed for killing hundreds of civilians. In July, Washington admitted to the unintentional deaths of about 116 civilians from nations not at war with the USA, due to drone attacks.

Regardless of what eventually happens in the upcoming months, this possible change illustrates just how important it is to keep individuals like Trump from obtaining more power over the USA national defense system without participation from Congress - and without holding a national debate first. During Obama's two terms, a total of 563 strikes, largely by drones, targeted Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen compared to 57 strikes under George W. Bush, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. The unexpected drone decision was presumably meant to signify such escalation, but officials said it spurred confusion among federal agencies and Pentagon officials. One possibility being considered", WaPo reports, "could demand a near-certainty that no women or children are killed, but impose a different standard for military-age males. Or the White House could choose to waive the more stringent rules in certain geographical areas by declaring them active-combat zones for certain periods of time.

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